main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Literature: The World According To Garp
John Irvingís fourth novel, published in 1978, The World According to Garp was a bestseller for several years. The book was also a finalist for the National Book Awards for Fiction in 1979 and its first paperback edition won the Award the following year.

A movie adaptation directed by George Roy Hill and starring Robin Williams was theatrically released in 1982 with the screenplay written by Steve Tesich.


  • Author Appeal: Sex, bears, and wrestling.
  • Author Avatar: Possibly Garp for Irving.
  • Auto Erotica : Ends in the most tragic way, including Groin Attack wherein one party has his penis bitten off, and Eye Scream where Garp's son loses an eye to the gearshift. Ouch.
  • Boarding School / One Gender School : The prep school where Garp is allowed to attend as the son of a staff member. A fictional version of Irving's own prep school, Exeter.
  • Contrived Coincidence: When The World According to Garp was written, with the protagonist's biological father a comatose but aroused World War II, Irving was unaware that his own biological father had been in the military.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male : Jenny's conception of Garp. Most definitely not OK, as Garp's father was a bed-bound patient in the hospital where she worked. No one knows how it happened, so she never has to answer for it.
  • Elective Mute : Of an extreme kind: The Ellen Jamesians are a group of Straw Feminists who cut out their tongues in support of a young rape victim.
  • Embarrassing Nickname : Cushion and Pooh.
  • Infant Immortality : An inversion.
  • Most Writers Are Writers : Garp grows up to be a writer.
  • Show Within a Show : Or, in this case, a story within a story. Some early stories of Garps are included as part of the text, to show his development as a writer.
  • Straw Feminist: Zig Zag. Irving explores feminism from a man's perspective, between Jenny's role as an "icon" to the Ellen Jamesians to his friendship with transsexual Roberta Muldoon.
  • Your Cheating Heart : Garp's wife
  • Write Who You Know: John Irvingís mother Frances Winslow had not been married at the time of the authorís conception could be the basis of T. S. Garp being an illegitimate child.

WoodstockCreator/Warner Bros.Austin Powers
The WallFilms of the 1980sZapped

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy